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India mulls launching its own branded cotton

India is considering over branding its cotton to fetch premium prices overseas after seeing the success of branded Egyptian and US cotton. Work is under way to revise the ‘Technology Mission on Cotton’ (TMC) to accommodate branding of cotton and contract farming of the natural fibre, which, experts feel, are needed for better realisation in export markets.

Several meetings with various stakeholders have been held by textiles commissioner Kavita Gupta to draft guidelines for revising the TMC, which will allow exporters to improve the quality of Indian cotton, with less contamination, trash and staple length in the raw fibre, according to a report in a business daily.

Initiated in 2000, the TMC aimed at improving cotton yield and quality through the use of improved seeds and integrated water, nutrient and pest management technologies.

Under contract farming, seeds, fertilisers, advice and required markets for selling the produce are offered by private firms. Farmers, who own the land, dedicate labour to receive an assured annual income from their produce.

Many companies are interested in cotton contract farming, but are awaiting enabling regulations, says Ujwal Lahoti, chairman of the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil). He also stated that Vardhman Textiles has made a beginning with contract farming and has been growing cotton for captive consumption in some areas in Rajasthan.